Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dispatches from our Republic in Exile

Greg Palast is promoting his latest book. And so am I; promoting his latest book. Now that I've read more bits of it and reader reactions, I think it might be worth the investment.

The Power and the Payoff - Greg Palast:
"They finally put Dan Rather out of his misery. Today, CBS finally terminated him and sent him to the electronic glue factory — all for reporting the truth. But not all of it.

Rather’s “unsubstantiated story of Bush’s military service” (says USA Today) got him canned. Yet, all the poor man did was repeat a story we put on BBC Television a year earlier — that Poppy Bush put in the fix to get his son out of ‘Nam and into the Texas Air Guard, spending his war years guarding Houston from Viet Cong attack.

But Dan never reported this: the documentation from inside the US Department of Justice detailing the fix. Why not? Because it opened up a far more serious charge: that those who kept Little George out of war’s way ended up very well rewarded. We ran that full story — from the evidence of the fix to the evidence of the lucrative pay-backs — on the world’s biggest network, BBC, and we’ve never retracted a comma of it. Nor, by the way, has the White House denied our accusations despite our repeated offers to respond.

George’s slithering out of combat turned into big pay-days for those in on the fix and its cover-up: Harriett Miers (remember her?), Karen Hughes and Texas lobbyists."

One of the most baffling things about this Iraq War is the fact that none of the arguments for it make a lick of sense. They sounded good at the time, but there was absolutely nothing to support them, if you did any looking at all. And by "any," I mean that literally. You didn't have to be an investigative reporter to realize the arguments for the war were misdirection. The question was, what were we being distracted from?

Years of bitter dispute over how transparent the lies were served beautifully as a distration from what the lies served to conceal.

And to illustrate what that was, I'll turn you over to a satisfied reader, Ed Uyeshima
The author wisely divides his findings into five interrelated sections. The first chapter, "The Fear", details the folly that the war on terrorism has become. It only begins with the bureaucracy instigated by CIA leadership, and Palast verifies much of what Gary Berntsen and Ralph Pezzulo has divulged in "Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander". On a larger scale, he paints a mercenary picture of military-based greed that has allowed the government and its ancillary companies to profit from the fear of the American public. This leads naturally to the main commodity valued, oil, which is the main topic of the second section, "The Flow", a penetrating look at how the current administration's hidden agenda has been to keep oil prices high in order to maintain the confluence of OPEC. Without hesitation, Palast points out that Exxon-Mobil wants neither OPEC disrupted nor Iraqi oil flowing, as the availability of more crude translates into lower prices and less profit.
This is restated by Steve Koss who states:

"The Flow," argues that the war in Iraq was never about WMD or Saddam Hussein, it was about oil. Not about getting oil, however, but about preventing us from getting it. The goal in Iraq is to keep Iraqi oil off the markets to raise the price, bolster OPEC, and line the black-slicked pockets of Houston oil magnates. Furthermore, Palast puts the lie to the notion that the world is even remotely running out of oil (other than the $10 per barrel kind) and reveals how the power centers of oil are moving away from Saudi Arabia and toward Iraq, Venezuela, and (believe it or not) Canada. Chapter 2 is one of the book's longest, most deeply documented, and most disturbing.

There is a great deal more, but it strikes me that "oil" is the key issue for my readership. However, I also strongly suggest you consider why, aside from the sheer, staggering, nose-bleed range profits, those in power would like you paying more for oil.

Consider this - as one more observation that I'm picking out of the pile. Individual liberty is ultimately an economic matter. The ability to travel is fundimental to liberty. Well, your ability to travel has been restricted.

And by that I mean, further restricted. Consider what the "war on terror" has done to air travel. And of course, all international travel IS air travel, save to the US and Mexico.

The concept of a spontainious trip to nearly anywhere has vanished into the haze of yesteryear. Who's interests does that serve, I wonder?

It is said that "travel broadens the mind," and I think we have all seen the result of unbroadened minds in the voting booth.

Now, I'm not against the idea of Globalization - it's an invitable development. But there is a stark difference between the evolution of a truly global economy and the mechanisms it requires and what the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are actually doing, which bears absolutely no resemblance to free-market capitalism whatoever. It is, rather, economic and - dare I say it - class warfare.

Now, I hesitate to use the term "class warfare" as it's a term most strongly associated with the biggest class warriers of all, the socialists and the Marxist-Lenninists. But sometimes one cannot avoid naming a reality for what it is.

But when I speak of "class warfare" I'm not talking about "rich versus poor." I'm talking "corporate class" versus "everyone else in the world."

I include in this the extraordinarily wealthy. Oh, they may let you retreat to your private island - but they will not allow you to use your wealth in any way that interferes with their desired outcome. Just try investing your money in something that would tend to mitigate global energy scarcity and you will find out just how wealthy you are not.

For that matter, try showing up at a shareholder's meeting instead of allowing your proxies to be excercised in your name. You may be in for a rude shock, and perhaps the sudden onset of "schizophrenia" or "senile dementia."

Call me paranoid if you will - but should you decide to take such a course, consider first the idea that a mere million dollars, one way or another is a price the vast majority of the world would kill for.

Now, there are some folks that think that Corporatism is the next stage in social development; unavoidable, if not actively desirable. For myself, I consider it to be a regression to something less palatable than serfdom, and more importantly,. dependant on the rather dubious assumption that billions of peopel will be content to live upon the crumbs left to them by a few millions who, by necessity, must be rather conspiciously concentrated into a few small areas.

Such as, say, the World Trade Towers.

Now, I'm not saying 9/11 was a good thing, or a justifiable thing, or even an effective act, any more than the strike against the McMurrah buliding by Tim McVeigh was. I'm just saying that such events become more and more likely as the target value becomes more obvious.

I don't actually support such violence at all, for there is a far more effective way of dealing with these people. First, Just Say No to the IMF. If you need money, and you can't get it on the "official" markets, there's always the grey market.

If you need communications - there are ways other than through pipelines controlled by AT&T and other corperatist shills. Consider a UUCP-style network running on the Citizen Band or HAM-UHF frequences, as a "samizdata" worldwide unoffical "Backbone." Third-world level tech could make this sort of network pervasive, and accessable by wi-fi by technilogical gurilla action.

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